Today our kids learned a bit about what naturalists take with them when they go into parks to explore and observe, like measuring tools and magnifying glasses. On their walk through the woods with a local ranger, the kids spotted a barred owl, which was unusually calm around all of us gawkers. We learned that this particular owl likes to hang out around the nature center, and it will stalk pokey, a friendly turtle inside the nature center, through the window. The kids also spotted two deer, who calmly fed while we looked on from a short distance.
Taking kids into nature on a regular basis is important for many reasons. Of course, it is important to let kids breathe fresh air, move their limbs, and develop knowledge about the natural world. Equally important is to let kids develop a sense of respect for the natural world around them so that they can become the next generation of people who will protect our national parks. When our kids walk through Rock Creek Park and learn about how the rangers try their best to preserve the park, and when the kids come face to face with majestic creatures such as barred owls, they develop a real connection with the natural world that may stay with them for the rest of their lives. We hope so!
I see you.
Do you see me?
Talking with the ranger about what they observed on the trail.
After our walk, some of the kids stayed to complete the National Park Service's Centennial Junior Ranger Activity Book. For completing the book, they were presented with a centennial Junior Ranger badge and a patch. As part of receiving the badge and patch, one of our kids proudly took the oath to help protect our national parks.